Bandwagon is a persuasive technique and form of propaganda employed by writers to sway readers by suggesting that since the majority agrees with an argument, the reader should too. It encourages individuals to follow the crowd or conform to popular opinions.
Usage in Literature, Politics, and More
Whether encountered while listening to a politician or reading a book, the bandwagon technique often seeks to influence the audience's thoughts and actions by leveraging the power of collective agreement, even if individuals possess their own beliefs and ideas.
Examples of Bandwagon in Literature
Example #1: George Orwell's "Animal Farm"
"In the novel Animal Farm, George Orwell effectively utilizes the bandwagon technique. The song 'Beasts of England' is initially embraced by all animals, creating the illusion of widespread approval. Boxer, a loyal and powerful animal, unintentionally promotes bandwagon propaganda by unquestionably following Comrade Napoleon's ideas, believing that 'If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.' This illustrates his desire to conform to Comrade Napoleon's leadership and ideology."
The bandwagon technique is prevalent as the animals accept changing ideals and commandments because their peers do so. Even Mollie, curious about wearing ribbons and having sugar post-Rebellion, quickly conforms when Snowball explains these symbols as forms of slavery, despite her initial doubts.
Example #2: William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"
"In William Shakespeare's play, 'Julius Caesar,' Mark Antony delivers a memorable speech at Caesar's funeral that serves as a brilliant example of the bandwagon technique. Antony strategically addresses the public, refuting Brutus' justifications for Caesar's assassination and convincing them that Cassius and Brutus are murderers. His words resonate as he, a commoner, gains the audience's trust by saying, 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen.'"
Antony effectively employs the bandwagon technique to sway public opinion and counter Brutus' influence by portraying Caesar's death as a grave injustice.
Example #3: Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"
"In 'The Crucible,' Abigail Williams triggers the bandwagon effect when she claims to have seen women consorting with the devil. As she introduces this idea, the other girls quickly jump on the bandwagon, accusing women they dislike. This escalation of accusations demonstrates how the bandwagon technique can spread like wildfire, leading others to conform."
The bandwagon technique is evident as accusations multiply rapidly, driven by fear and peer pressure.
Example #4: George Orwell's "1984"
"George Orwell employs the bandwagon technique in '1984' through the ruling party's use of fear tactics to manipulate conformity among the populace. The party capitalizes on individuals' isolation and loneliness, making them distrust one another. An example is the 'Two Minute Hate,' where everyone directs intense hatred towards the party's enemy, Goldstein. The collective participation in this bandwagon fosters a sense of achievement."
The bandwagon technique is wielded as a tool of control, exploiting human psychology and the fear of isolation to ensure conformity within the dystopian society depicted in the novel.
Function of Bandwagon
The bandwagon technique serves to influence the audience to align their thoughts and actions with the majority. It capitalizes on the tendency to conform when one sees others doing the same. This persuasive approach finds application in literature, politics, and advertisements. While it can be a persuasive tool, it is often used to exert pressure on readers or audiences by invoking fear if they diverge from the prevailing beliefs.